“There,” she said, with a recovered flash of liveliness, “there’s my resolution, to do what I like more than anything in the world as long as I can; and when it is over I shall be helped to do without it!”
“I can’t believe—” broke out Alison.
“Not in your heart, but in your reason,” said Ermine, endeavouring to smile. “He will hover about here, and always be kind, loving, considerate; but a time will come that he will want the home happiness I cannot give. Then he will not wear out his affection on the impossible literary cripple, but begin over again, and be happy. And, Alison, if your love for me is of the sound, strong sort I know it is, you will help me through with it, and never say one word to make all this less easy and obvious to him.”
WAITNG FOR ROSE
“Not envy, sure! for if you gave me
Leave to take or to refuse
In earnest, do you think I’d choose
That sort of new love to enslave me?”—R. Browning.
So, instead of going to Belfast, here was Colonel Keith actually taking a lodging and settling himself into it; nay, even going over to Avoncester on a horse-buying expedition, not merely for the Temples, but for himself.
This time Rachel did think herself sure of Miss Williams’ ear in peace, and came down on her with two fat manuscripts upon Human Reeds and Military Society, preluding, however, by bitter complaints of the “Traveller” for never having vouchsafed her an answer, nor having even restored “Curatocult,” though she had written three times, and sent a directed envelope and stamps for the purpose. The paper must be ruined by so discourteous an editor, indeed she had not been nearly so much interested as usual by the last few numbers. If only she could get her paper back, she should try the “Englishwoman’s Hobby-horse,” or some other paper of more progress than that “Traveller.” “Is it not very hard to feel one’s self shut out from the main stream of the work of the world when one’s heart is burning?”
“I think you overrate the satisfaction.”
“You can’t tell! You are contented with that sort of home peaceful sunshine that I know suffices many. Even intellectual as you are, you can’t tell what it is to feel power within, to strain at the leash, and see others in the race.”
“I was thinking whether you could not make an acceptable paper on the lace system, which you really know so thoroughly.”